Cincinnati Reds 2013 Season Preview:
Manager: Dusty Baker (6th Season)
2012 Record: 97-65 (1st Place in NL Central
Key Additions: 3B Jack Hannahan, OF Shin Soo Choo, SS Cesar Izturis, C Miguel Olivo
Key Departures: 3B Scott Rolen, C Dioner Navarro, P Ryan Madson, OF Drew Stubbs
Dusty Baker has a few problems to address, but they are good problems to have. The big question the Cincinnati Reds skipper needs to answer is, do you put Aroldis Chapman into the rotation. He is already one of the best closers in the game, and has the potential to become one of the greats if given the chance. It is tough to leave someone who can throw upwards of 105 mph in the bullpen, which is why this decision will be tough for Baker.
History has shown that trying to convert a reliever into a starter can be treacherous. Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard are two examples that come to mind right away. Papelbon only lasted a few weeks into spring training before being put back into the closer role, and Bard was a bust last year for Boston. Baker may want to keep Chapman right where he is, as a lockdown closer.
The rotation will be fine without Chapman in the mix. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake are a formidable starting five with a ton of upside.
Looking at the Reds at the plate, there are plenty of reasons for Dusty Baker to smile. Joey Votto headlines a group that includes Choo, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Todd Frazier. Can you say, “Winning!”
The bullpen is one of the strongest in baseball, even if Chapman is thrown into the rotation. Jonathan Broxton is a proven closer, and there are also good middle men in Manny Parra, Jose Arredondo, and Sean Marshall.
Look for the Cincinnati Reds to make a deep run into the playoffs. This team is good enough to compete with anyone, including The Dodgers, Giants, and Nationals.